Creative Zen 4GB Review


Hi all , I just bought this player, so I decided to write a review on it to help any of you thinking of buying this player.

Lets Start

Product : Creative Zen ( Yes, just Zen nothing else ) . Comes in 2,4,8,16,32 GB Flavors.

Technical Mumbo-jumbo :

. Size WxHxD: 3.26" x 2.16" x 0.44"

. Weight: 2.1 oz

. Display: 2.5" High resolution color TFT display (320 x 240 pixels, 16.7 million color support)

. Storage Capacity:
2GB (500 songs or 7.5 hours of video)
4GB (1,000 songs or 15 hours of video)
8GB (2,000 songs or 30 hours of video)
16GB (4,000 songs or 60 hours of video)
32GB (8,000 songs or 120 hours of video)

. Battery Life:
Up to 30 hours of continuous audio playback
Up to 5 hours of continuous video playback

. Audio Playback Format: MP3, WMA, non-protected AAC, WAV and Audible 2,3 and 4

. Photo Format: JPEG and (with transcoding - GIF, TIFF, PNG and BMP)

. Video Playback Format: MJPEG, WMV9 and (with transcoding - MPEG1 and 2, MPEG4-SP, DivX 4 and 5 and XviD)

. Organizer: Syncs with and views Microsoft Outlook® Contacts, Calendar & Tasks

. Features:
Album Art
FM radio with 32 presets
Voice recorder
Clock and alarm function
Volume restriction
Customizable main menu
Functions as an external hard drive
8 EQ settings (Acoustic, classical, disco, jazz, new age, pop, rock and vocal)

  OK, now that we are done with that on to the real review

Eye Candy :

Front View

Back View

Side View

This image shows the connectivity options of this player. It contains the standard 3.5mm Headphone jack. A button to lock the player and power it up or shut it down. Then there is the mini-USB port. The player connects to a PC through this port with the cable that comes with the player. Zen charges through the same wire.

Top View

Size Comparison with my Razr V3m

Zen is pretty sleek, its about the size of a credit card and smaller than the Razr.

My Experience

The screen is a very colorful (16 Million) 2.5” TFT and occupies most of the player. The power switch glows a silent blue when the player’s on. There is no stop button but a play and pause; if you pause and switch off the player then it’s basically stopped. The main buttons are the directional pad and the OK button plus a forward and back button on either side.

It comes with an FM Radio, Video Player, Photo Viewer, Voice Recorder and a Clock and Alarm.

There is the back button which lets you go through your saved photos while listening to your favorite tracks.

It can play video with resolution of 320x240. It cant play videos bigger than that resolution. They have to be converted to this resolution before being run on the player. The video plays beautifully and very smooth.

The best thing about this player is the SD card slot. The player comes with 4GB in-built memory. But you can increase the memory of the player to any amount of memory you want. Just put the biggest SD card in there and you are good to go. With the just released 64GB SD card , you could take this player's memory to 68GB of flash memory. That's an awful lot of flash memory. Of course this will be better than hard-drive based players since they tend to skip with jerks and bumps. And you can always upgrade your memory in future, you will not be limited by memory like other players.
You can find a 16GB SD card for $65 at Newegg .
This zen then becomes a 20GB Player, rivaling the capacities of low-end hard drive players.

Creative has done a beautiful job of solving the problem of browsing a long list of media files. With most players you would have to hold the down button until you got the item you were looking for without overshooting it. This problem is solved on the Zen (also seen on some of their other players) by using the alphabet on the side. By pressing the right button you will move the alphabet where it will allow you to jump to specific media by beginning letter. This is very handy for massive amount of media; something you may need with the 16GB version.

This player plays AAC files. Although the Nero AAC encoder files dont play natively, but they can be made to play. Download this program, and fix the files after encoding them with the NERO AAC encoder and they will play. For those of u who don't know what AAC is, its a new format which can provide the same quality as MP3 at 1/4th the bitrate.

If you are a bass freak, you may look somewhere else. Although the sound quality is good overall, on some songs the bass is lacking. When I connected this player to the speakers that are connected to my X-FI card, the sound was similar. The bass and everything was similar. Although i don't have great speakers, just some Altec Lansing 2.1 setup.

This player has a nasty habit to freeze on startup. That is solved by first pressing the reset button, then pressing the power button while holding down the Play/Pause button which brings up a menu to format, reboot, reload firmware or cleanup. Select the cleanup option from here and reboot. The player will start but all saved settings and preferences will be deleted. Media is not deleted by this.

The player needs no special software to be read by Windows. It can be browsed like a flash drive.

Final Thoughts

PRO's - A good player overall with good sound, unlimited memory expandibility, great format compatibility and nice interface.

CONS - Has a nasty habit of freezing, Bass should have been more.